Italian police net 26 in phishing takedown
Phish, Chip and Mules
Italian police have arrested 26 people allegedly involved in an international phishing operation.
The Guardia di Finanza (Military Financial Police) cuffed 18 Italian citizens and eight Eastern Europeans as part of "Phish and Chip", an operation aimed at dismantling a gang targeting users of Poste Italiane's home banking services.
The gang allegedly mounted a spamming campaign directing prospective marks towards overseas websites that mimicked the real Italian Post Office website. Victims were duped into handing over login credentials by bogus emails posing as security alerts.
Laptop computers, data backup kit, false documents, mobile phones, and equipment for creating credit cards were seized by police in the course of the raids that accompanied the arrests. Some of the seized items included Banca Intesa credit cards, said to have been used by the gang at the Casino of San Remo in the days leading up to their detention.
According to a police statement, an unnamed 22-year-old hacker was the linchpin of the scheme. Once account login credentials were obtained, lower ranked members of the gang (phishing mules) emptied funds from compromised accounts, transferring money to PostePay cards activated by members of the gang.
The alleged ringleader is protesting his innocence, maintaining during police questioning that he was one of the good guys - a data processing consultant who helped Italian companies prevent credit card fraud.
Security experts welcomed news of the arrests but warned against any complacency, noting that many cybercriminals remain at large. "Phishing and identity theft are global problems, and countries need to work more closely with each other to bring cybercriminals to justice, on illegal activity like this. Internet criminals can use technology to hide their identities, and it can often be a complex web for the police to untangle," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.
"These arrests underline the growing organised nature of international identity theft gangs, but there are many other phishers still at large."
Earlier this month, more than 10,000 web pages based in Italy were attacked by hackers who planted exploit code designed to open up compromised machines to identity theft. It's unclear at this stage whether or not any of the arrested gang were involved in this attack. ®
It did not fail
The park rangers did not fail in their uprising - they effectively took each and every national park HQ building over all the national forests - only nobody ever knew about it so the rangers went back home after their rations ran out.
more Italian Police
well, we have quite a few boys in blue here!
Carabinieri are the very professional guys - semi-military, who will also respond to traffic incidents if you ask them nicely. The 'dreaded' Guardia di Finanza have arrested me for buying a bottle of water without getting a VAT receipt, and trying to arrest me for having had a haircut for the same motive.
I fought the law and I won!
The Polstrada look cool and have a nice webpage where you can check-out their cruisers http://digilander.libero.it/autopolizia/page30.html
The Polizia del Stato State Police are mostly in evidence at the Italian Borders - though I have been called in for questioning about that dodgy document I accidentally signed 8 years ago.....
The Polizia Penitenziaria seem to run the prisons, Corpo Forestale seem to drive around in Green Landrovers a lot
"The Keystone Kops" of Italy are possibly the various groups of Polizia Proviniciale, Polizia Locale, Polizia Communale, Polizia Municipale, Vigili Urbani; rumour has it that they like uniforms and guns but were disqualified from joining one of the *real* forces, so they end up regularly extracting €50 fines from Motorists? (A vigili did shoot someone a couple of years ago in Milan, near La Scala, for a traffic infringement. They can have my €50 anytime!)
I'm sure there are other groups, some subsets worthy of a mention are the special "Hospital Attack Squad" of the Carabinieri , I believe, who - mostly in the Summer, swoop on an unsuspecting Ospedale and lock all the doors and start counting Doctors and Nurses and State Employees - to determine who is 'on duty' and 'at the beach' or possibly both!
Then there are just the unmarked cars that drive around with a flashing light on top, who are they? maybe SISMI going to arrest the other-half of SISMI or could it be my neighbour, Umberto Bossi's escort?
There are many opportunities to meet the nice Italian Police, armed checkpoints are quite common, where your car documents are controlled at machinegun-point, though nowadays many automatic radar "autovelox" are leading to database policing. Watch those speedlimits on the SuperStrada!
The two main "police forces" are the carabinieri and the polizia.
Both have the job of your typical police force, and inevitably they end up stepping on each other toes. The reason 2 different forces were created, I believe, was to avoid a coup d'etat. In fact, when a coup was attempted in the end of the 60s, they used the Italian park rangers (guardia forestale), but that's another story.
In addition to carabinieri and polizia, there is the Guardia di Finanza, whose main job is to go after people who commit financial frauds -- and if they're lucky they'll end up getting a job w/ Berlusconi and Guardia Forestale (park rangers).